Sunday, 26 October 2014

So, you're not just a little square head????


Yesterday I did something I haven't done very often in my life, and which I find exciting yet just a tiny bit daunting...

I could just leave it there and let you guess, but I won't!  Here is what I did - I met up with an online friend.  This time it was.... Carol Hedges!  For anyone who doesn't know her, Carol is a fellow writer I first met on Twitter a couple of years ago

The meet was Carol's suggestion; she lives in Hertfordshire and me in Tyne and Wear, so it would have been unlikely ever to happen had Carol's husband not wanted to see Watford (not Arsenal...!) playing Middlesborough (I always think Carol's BH - beloved husband - is called Bernard, though he's actually not at all - you know how you get these things in your head?  No?  Oh, okay, it's just me, then....).

Because of traffic problems, Carol was an hour late, which meant that I'd spent the time wandering around the Toon (Newcastle); the inclement weather turned my smooth and glamorous hair into an explosion in a mattress factory, about which I only complained ten times during the afternoon.  We met in a restaurant....


.... where I was delighted to discover that, like me, Carol isn't a 'foodie', will eat what is put in front of her and is more interested in vino and chatting than gastric delights.  We both had a starter consisting of smoked salmon, rocket and capers, loads of wine (I admit to having the lion's share, which is fair enough as I am a Leo) (good excuse, huh?), and that was all!  Anyway, we were talking at such a rate that a larger meal wouldn't have stood a chance.


The big question - were we as we'd imagined we would be?  Answer - yes and no! Carol thought I would be loud and quite caustic, but I'm actually fairly mild in company, unless I've known people for years, maybe quieter than my online presence suggests.  I thought Carol would be very nice and warm (which she IS!) and a sort of wise sage, but she was more like an excitable kitten!!!! More extrovert than I had imagined.  Dead good fun and interesting, which is what I had expected.  We had LOADS to talk about, and I think we'll definitely need a 'round two' to say all the stuff that we didn't get to say in the three and a half hours we spent together.

We had a token wander down to the quayside, because you can't visit the Toon without seeing the Tyne Bridge - and here is a picture of Carol with The Sage, Gateshead, behind her!


We also had coffee in a nice little cafe where a chap was playing guitar, which is just the sort of thing you want to chance upon.  



.... and when the man we shall call Bernard came to pick Carol up, they very kindly drove me all the way home - I live about 8 miles outside Newcastle. It seemed weird to have them drop me outside my house - no, Carol, you're supposed to be on my computer screen, not outside my house!! I pointed up to the window where I sit and write and tweet....  and here I am at my desk!  This photo was taken before I went to meet Carol - when my hair still looked nice! (Look, I know I'm a bit obsessive about my hair.  It's a Leo thing, all right??)


It was a fine afternoon, and Carol tells me that next time Watford are playing Middlesborough she will come up again - hopefully that time we can meet up with Jon Fletcher/Gardener too!  

I'm thinking of starting a Facebook page for pictures of writers meeting writers, but I don't suppose I will ever find the time... maybe when I've finished the current novel.

Cheersmy new real life friend!




ps ~ Twitter friend @WillowCWinsham just said to me that some of her best real life friends started as online ones.  Quick think - it's probably because you get to know each other first in the best possible way - by sharing thoughts, witticisms, experiences, preferences etc, without being distracted by others, getting pissed, prejudices over looks, etc.  So you already know that person is going to be on your wavelenghth ~ half the 'getting to know you' stuff is already done....


42 comments:

  1. It was GREAT FUN!! One correction...it's WATFORD not Arsenal ......hahaha

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    1. Amended, with embellishment!!!!! :^D

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  2. This is so cool! Congrats to you both.

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  3. Aww look at you two fabulous ladies! Football does have its advantages sometimes then :-)

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    1. I think this is the only one!!!!! Glad you like :)

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  4. Two of the world's sexiest superbabes in the world's sexiest city. I love it! (Yevad)

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    1. You can keep compliments like that coming, even if they're a load of bollocks, Yevad :)

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  5. Always good to have one's talent recognised, Mr Y. !!

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  6. That's fantastic that you have both made a new 'real life' friend. So lovely of them to take you all the way home!

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    1. I know, I was made up - especially as I was so busy chatting that 'Bernard' had to sort out the directions himself... more or less!

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  7. Great pics you both look fabulous!! Really glad you had so much fun! Hedges is a hoot, she's like a labradoodle on acid, as you've now discovered Terry lol! Would love to think that maybe one day we'll all meet up over a bucket of wine or two...ok...make it three!....:)

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    1. That would be lovely - I think you're about half way between us both, and to the left, Lynn!!

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    2. Met once with a fellow blogger after discovering we had many parallels in our lives and I was visiting her state for a holiday. After reading all the 'bad' online stories I arranged to meet at a cafe...just incase. And had my daughter on speed dial lol . Turns out we were the same in real life as portrayed and have made a wonderful friendship now. The world is so much closer now with internet.

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    3. That's nice! I couldn't have done a get out thing, as Carol had travelled 300 miles...! Ha ha - I just had to put up with her (ahhh... and she with me...!)

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  8. This is so much fun, I meet up with fellow author Alison Williams after we got chatting on the net, how the time flies when we get chatting about books and blogging and everything in between. Last time we met we even said we should go on an actual author book tour around the country and meet our fellow internet chums. Well done you two, look forward to the next post.

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    1. Oh, wouldn't that be brilliant, Rosie????? If only someone had the (free!) time to do it!!!

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  9. How exciting! I love the thought of the pair of you meeting up and it looks like you had a great time. And Terry - your hair looks fab as always :D

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    1. Yeah, in the before pic. Come on, Workshy, you're a Leo, you must understand!!!!

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    2. Terry, I am so obsessed with my hair. It's naturally curly and so really doesn't do weather :D x

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    3. Am the same!!! As long as there is no moisture in the air it's a lovely glamorous mane - as soon as there is, it's the mattress factory explosion! Wind is fine, it's just the damp - I know you will understand!

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  10. How wonderful, ladies! (And your hair looks fabulous, Terry!)

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  11. I am so so …..no, not jealous - that isn't it. No...glad-you-met-but-wish-I'd-been-there is more like it. It sounds as if you had a really, really good time and hit it off as I'm sure you both felt you would, even with those last minute feelings of hesitancy. I like the idea of Carol being an excitable kitten!! You are both so sharp and on the ball on Twitter, I am always in awe, but I'd truly love to meet you both too . One day, one day…we should try and have a Tweeps Fest! And, Terry! I NEVER knew you were obsessive about your hair…. who on earth would have guessed that? ;-)

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    1. I always find new meetings daunting, I actually dislike them; also, I am quite lazy socially. I can't be bothered to make conversation, I only talk if there's something I want to talk about. Happily, Carol and I never shut up! Once I was sitting in the restaurant I was all excited, looking out of the window up and down...!!

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  12. Looks like you had a fantastic time, even if the weather tormented your hair!

    And yes, I think you're right - already knowing someone and building up a relationship online does cut out a lot of the initial "What do we have in common/basic getting to know each other" stuff and its more likely that you'll get on with someone you have already "met" online than a chance random stranger in the street. It also helps that you tend to find people online through things that interest you/you are passionate about - my son's Godmother, one of my nearest and dearest friends, I met through a Hornblower messageboard online over a decade ago!!! We're both over the Hornblower obsession now by a long way, but the friendship has remained and grown over the years and she is, to all intents and purposes, family to me. I also met my bestest writing pal through NaNoWriMo a few years ago (which I failed at miserably haha!) and we're off to the British Museum to see Witchy Things in a couple of weeks!

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    1. Oddly enough, I was only telling my husband yesterday that we HAVE to get Hornblower to watch!!! Glad you've had good experiences with it, too. Not online, but similar to what you said about interests - my sister Julia has two really good and long term friends that we met in 1993, in a queue to see Aerosmith at a signing session. They all remain in constant touch, and I still see them too (though they are both London based, as was Julia at the time). Tis indeed funny how you meet your closest friends... I must make a list!!!

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  13. Arghh...wrote a comment, pressed 'preview' then it vanished! Ekk! Anyway I said that it looks like you had a fun and although it's weird at first it's great to meet up and see someone in the flesh rather than on a computer screen! I've met a few people I've chatted to online (no, nothing like that!!!) - one a mum from a parent and baby message board and others from a message board I was writing fan fiction with years ago!

    Perhaps next time I'm Sunderland-way...(I can leave the kids with the in-laws!) :)

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    1. That would be great - yes!!!! And yes, here is your comment!

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  14. How lovely to see you both together – but sadly I must inform you that you are still two-dimensional thumbnails on my computer!
    It is quite weird to finally meet up with people you've only met online. I think there's a different kind of intimacy with online versus flesh and blood friendships, but they overlap and blend into each other. I had my first blog/twitter meet-up only last month and now met 5 people out in the real world. Each time it was lovely (though a little strange initially to discover that their mouths move when they communicate, rather than it being all spelt out in letters on the screen).
    Glad you two had such a great time.

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    1. Thanks, Anne - and I think you feel the same way about it as I do!

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  15. What a great thing to do, the photos are super and your mane looks as fabulous as ever Leo!! It's always daunting for me to meet someone new but I'm so pleased when I do especially when it's another booky person! I'm delighted you had such a chatty time together - I'm sure 'Bernard' could barely get a word in edgewise to ask directions - haha! How nice to take you home as well :-)

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    1. Yes, I was most pleased! I don't have much interest in meeting new people as such, these days (I've got enough friends!), but this is a bit different. We do need a round 2, tho..... :^D

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  16. Such a great post and it looks like you had so much fun! And you have quite a lot of things in common as well. I love meetings like that. You never know where you will find special people in your life. It's what I love about the internet, it can bring people together. I've met my best friend through penpalling and even though she lives quite far away we've been very good friends for 15 years now.
    PS your hair looks great, on both photos :).

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, LL! I never know whether or not to put your real name in 'public'??? That's so nice about your penpal - and never mind my hair, ha ha! xx

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  17. What lovely pics! It does sound as though you both had a lovely meet up and got on as well in RL as online ;) I have definitely made some great new friends online and even managed to meet them face-to-face too :)

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    1. I want to meet more now, Julie!!! Thanks for reading x

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  18. What a fantastic story! At the writer's conference I attended this summer, I sat with three writers from three different states who "met" for the first time as they picked each other up to attend the conference! They'd been Twitter fans for years but decided to meet in person and make the conference an experience for them. So glad the meeting was a pleasant experience for you both.

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    1. Thanks, Janelle - and I'm planning another meet with some others in February. xxx

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  19. Where have I been since Oct 2014. I know I've been here and there this last week (not only by choice but that's another story ...) but ten months? Anyway just to say this is lovely and how wonderful to find you liked one another (the opposite doesn't bear thinking about!). I met up with fellow Honno authors last Monday and what a strange feeling it is to half recognise someone on first sight who before was only a 'square head' - and to find you like them as much in person as through the screen of a PC/laptop. Here's to more new writerly friendships. From your 'square head friend' in Wales (and I bet you wouldn't guess I have a strong Yorkshire accent even after being here for nearly forty years) Jx

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    1. Ha ha, what a lovely comment, Judith! Yes, indeed ~ and people often expect me to speak Geordie, but in fact my accent is more Home Counties (only lived here 6 years!) - though I do use the NE expressions when I tweet and email, like 'Aye, pet' - aha, that confused you!!!

      I think it works because you have already established like minds, which is why you've got far enough to consider meeting, like the way that internet dating works best with people who've got to know each other well first!

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